The National Weather Service’s Aviation Weather Center has issued an alert for severe turbulence in the airspace stretching from eastern Iowa to southern New Jersey. Included in the alert would be air traffic arriving to or departing from Chicago’s O’Hare or Midway Airports, Pennsylvania’s Pittsburgh and Philadelphia airports, Atlantic City Airport, the Washington-area airports including Reagan National, Dulles, and Baltimore’s BWI. Because most northbound and eastbound traffic passes into the area, flights arriving at New York City’s area airports, including Newark Liberty, LaGuardia, and JFK would see impacts too.
Aircraft encounter turbulence when the air around them experiences chaotic changes in pressure and flow velocity. While air around thunderstorms can be quite turbulent, turbulence can also occur on clear weather days if wind and pressure are just right.
Due to the severe turbulence, pilots are being warned with an XRAY 1 SIGMET, UNIFORM 10 SIGMET, and UNIFORM 9 SIGMET across the country today. Pilots are asked to limit flying in these areas; planes that can’t be re-routed should ensure passengers and cargo are safely secure.